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farming:animal-husbandry

Animal Husbandry

Overview

The incorporation of animals into an agricultural system can greatly improve system efficiency, resiliency, soil health, and diversify the farmer's offerings. Below are several methods of how FarmBot might take care of and manage animals within a system.

"Chicken Tractor" Method

Common on small to medium sized farms and even home gardens is the use of a “chicken tractor.” The device is essentially a small cage open to the ground used to house the animals, most commonly chickens, and it can be easily moved by lifting or with the aid of wheels. The methodology for using the device is to concentrate many animals in a small area and allow them to completely eat, tear up, and work into the soil any plant matter in that region while contributing manure. The animals and tractor are left in one location for a relatively short amount of time ranging from a single day to a few weeks depending on the density of plant matter and the density and eating habits of the animals. Once the area of land has been worked through by the animals, the tractor is moved to a new location with the animals remaining inside.

Larger sized FarmBots may have the ability to move chicken tractors with the implementation of a hook or other attachment system as a FarmBot tool and the appropriate hardware on top of the cage. In addition, the method may not be limited to chickens. Other small to medium sized livestock may work well such as goats, sheep, pigs, and ducks.

Chicken tractor with wheels

Portable, Flexible Fence Method

Portable, flexible fencing could be used to contain livestock in a specific area. Each fence post could have a mount on top that can be grabbed by a special FarmBot tool, allowing the post to be pulled out of the ground, moved, and then driven back in at a new location. The fencing must be flexible so that the posts may be moved one at a time without damaging the fence as the circumference's shape changes.

This method could be used with medium to large sized livestock such as goats, sheep, cattle, llamas, and emus. Smaller animals may be able to escape underneath the fence during times of movement.

Such a mobile system, could or would be better moved in you have the sleeping quarters, as part of the fence structure and off-ground, so in theory they are inside when the structure moves.

Providing Water

FarmBot could provide water to tanks, troughs, bowls, or other vessels on a periodic basis. FarmBot would simply have to know where the vessel is located and how much water to add. There could also be sensors added to the vessel that tell FarmBot when the water level is low or full to ensure there is always adequate water while avoiding overflow.

The watering system can easily be dealt with via open source tech, http://rayshobby.net/?page_id=160 it has a solid base. Otherwise try Adafruit and the sensor sets on there. Set up the whole system as a hive using MESH protocol.

farming/animal-husbandry.txt · Last modified: 2016/10/12 07:39 by roryaronson